The funny thing about Life is that the moment you think you have something figured out, you realize that that you actually know very little, if anything at all.
I think it’s designed that way to keep us here, keep us curious and keep us growing.
Because ‘knowing’ is really just a perception. Yes, subjects such as science or math are more concrete, but when it comes to Life stuff like creativity, passion, expression and relationships, you really only are ever having your own reality with it. You only know what’s true for you. Even if someone else is telling you their experience, you can try to understand, but it will always be through your own lens.
It can be hard enough in our own lives to know when to push forward and when to pull back. How much attention to give to something and when to let it be. When to push with the writing, when to let it sit for awhile. When to do more work, when to rest. When to eat salad for dinner, when to say fuck it and eat the nachos.
But, when you are interacting with others, what works for you may or may not work for them. You are doing things to the best of your ability, based on what you know, but of course, someone else’s reality may require a totally different set of ‘rules’ or actions. And, (darn) it is always changing…
I think of one of my best friends I who typically speak to every day. Talking to her was not only the highlight of my day, it was the highlight of my life. Then suddenly, a few weeks ago, she stopped returning my calls and texts. Completely.
So what do I do? I do a very ‘Jill thing’ and keep texting and calling her. Because in the past she wanted me to do these things. I wanted to do these things! So I keep pushing. Luckily I got a lovely note explaining the reasons she needs to be with herself, and even though I miss our chats, I’ve backed off and let her be for the past month. Not one call. Not one text. I’m slow, but I do get there, because really, I do want to honor those in my life and not be selfish. And this silent time has revealed immense trust, vulnerability, maturity and respect between us, which has been a beautiful outcome to something I wasn’t originally on board with.
I think of another friend who last year kept asking me to support her to lose weight. We worked out this whole ‘program’ that we’d both follow together. I kept up with it every day as a means to encourage her (I work out regularly anyway), but after a couple of weeks (really, after one week), she was kind of over it. Do you push or do you pull back? What’s best for the other person? I pushed at first, and then I finally understood that it was best to let it go. This was last October and she never mentioned it again. Lesson learned.
I think we all know that ‘helping’ someone else really can turn into fulfilling our own needs if we keep pushing when it is not what’s wanted or needed by the other person, or if it’s the right action at the wrong time. For those of us who truly want to help others, we need to remind ourselves that Real Help is about the other person, it’s not about fulfilling something in us.
Because most of us really do want to ‘do right’ by ourselves and by the other person, but sometimes that takes a little trial and error. I tend to push. Life, for me, moves really fast. But I have to remember that not everyone experiences it this way. For me, a week feels like a year, but it’s a year that moves at lightning speed. So it’s not dragging, quite the opposite, I have so many revelations each day, I just can’t wait to share. But guess what, not everyone wants to or needs to or even cares about where I’m at with things. All that matters is where they are at, and I continue work at honoring myself and others by pulling my energy back onto my own track so to speak. I am a work in progress…
I can draw outside the lines all I want (and I do!) but I need to keep the crayons on my own page, unless someone else is asking to look at the picture or borrow a color.
I am always reminded that relationships are a subtle dance of stepping out and stepping back in. You want to support, expand, experience, but sometimes one’s presence is not what’s needed. Leos are intense and fiery (especially this one), and sometimes it takes me a bit of time to figure out how to use that energy and feisty-ness to its greatest good. What works for one situation is completely different in another. I keep learning.
Today, what feels like the best use of my energy is to honor myself and others by staying on my own page and letting people come to me if they need or want help. In the meantime, I’m streamlining what I’m doing with my time so when I take on a new project of my own, or if someone comes to me needing support, I can be focused.
We each are only ever meant to paint the picture of our own lives, in our own time, in our own way – sometimes trading colors, sometimes having enough sense to leave yourself out of another’s self portrait.